I like to start things. Starting comes easy to me. Finishing with the same intensity is something I'm working on, but starting things is my speciality. I find perverse pleasure in tackling tough problems that demand barbaric commitments of time and energy. The harder it is to get to the start line, the more likely I am to enter the race. I've observed that I don't get as excited about running the actual race, but if there is a qualifying time and few preliminary heats, sign me up.
I mention this because getting to the start line with this blog should have been easy. It wasn't.
This not That is a fork of the Downtown Church Blog. Along with Suzanne Bates Mueller and a few others, I published regular posts on the church blog for two years. I surprised myself and a few of my more circumspect friends by writing regularly. On occasion we had to forage for content. This video is my favorite "oh no, we need to blog, what should we write about" post. Even though we sometimes had to stretch the expected boundaries of a church blog, the general them remained constant: it was an inside account depicting the hiccups we encountered, answered prayers that sneaked up on us, and quirky methods we employed. It was a bulletin board for upcoming events and a journal capturing our reflections of events and milestones we passed.
Contributing consistently to the Downtown Church Blog for two years was a pleasure. But after two years it became burdensome to draw a metaphorical line in each blog post between my life and my work as a pastor of a developing congregation. If I couldn't keep it real, and tell it like I felt it, I wasn't going to write it. After our survival was more certain the suspense was removed, and a measure of propaganda crept in. Soon, I couldn't put pen to paper for event promotions and my blogging at the end of 2012 slowed down. And yet, stopping wasn't an option. There is an audience and a church that needs to be informed about what's happening.
Our solution to this predicament is to set aside a small corner of this website for me to share the stuff that shouldn't be confused with important church news. The title of this new blog is This not That. You'll find music recommendations, reflections on articles and essays I've read, my take on current events, and much more writing on the mechanics, theology, and practice of starting a church. Somehow, the church we started two years ago took root and grew quickly. We don't always know what we are doing, but even then, it's likely someone can learn from our mistakes.
The Downtown Church Blog will remain the main portal for connecting with the church so don't stop checking in over there and make sure to subscribe to the nifty automatic emails. But if you're comfortable with a pastor not always talking about church, spend some time over here as well. Now that I started, come see if I'm capable of running this race.